ITUP Issues Comments on Public Charge

December 4, 2018

by Elia Gallardo

ITUP Comments on the Proposed Federal Rule Affecting Public Charge 
ITUP Joins More Than 100,000 Commenters to Date

In comments addressed to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Insure the Uninsured Project (ITUP) expressed deep concern with the proposed rule on public charge and urged DHS to withdraw the proposal.

Under federal law, an individual seeking admission to the U.S., or seeking to become a permanent resident (obtain a green card), is “inadmissible” if the individual is found to be likely at any time to become a “public charge.” Public charge determinations are based, among other factors, on whether the applicant is likely to rely on public benefits for subsistence in the U.S.

The ITUP comments to DHS highlight flaws in the proposed rule, such as the inclusion of public programs which most immigrants subject to a public charge determination are ineligible to receive. ITUP commented that the limited number of immigrants that would be impacted by this change and the complexity involved in identifying these individuals creates barriers to appropriate implementation and a high likelihood of errors. Despite actually affecting only a small number of immigrants, ITUP argues that including essential services as factors in public charge determinations will have a chilling effect on immigrant access to services they are legally entitled to receive and could result in unjustifiable harm to millions.

ITUP’s comments are attached.

On the first day of the 2019-20 legislative session, California Legislators also weighed in on the proposed rule with the introduction of Assembly Concurrent Resolution (ACR) 1 (Bonta), condemning the proposal and urging the federal government to reconsider and rollback the changes to public charge. ACR 1 finds that the proposed rule would undermine California’s critical safety-net programs and emphasizes the contributions of immigrants. ACR 1 also finds that California is stronger when residents in need are able to access essential safety net services without fear. Specifically ACR 1 finds: “(t)he proposed federal regulations run contrary to California’s values and bipartisan efforts that recognize the significance and value of integrating immigrant populations into the state, including in areas related to health care, education, and safety net access.” If passed by the Legislature, ACR 1 will be submitted to the President of the United States, the Vice President, and members of Congress.

For more information on the proposed rule, see the ITUP fact sheet on immigrants and public charge and the Protecting Immigrant Families resource page.

The impact of the proposed rule will also be a topic of discussion at the ITUP 23rd Annual Conference to be held February 4-5, 2019 in Sacramento. Register NOW.